The Indian Artist: What Oil Painting Has Taught Me

Happy New Year everybody!! I hope that you all had a wonderful and restful holidays. I am very excited to start off 2022, make some new art, dive into interesting classes, and hopefully do well on the MCAT (something that gives me nightmares). Over the break I completed the largest piece that I have ever done in a medium that I am not very comfortable with. I was commissioned to recreate a large oil painting by the artist Bijay Biswaal. A previous post of mine detailed my initial thoughts starting this piece. In this post I will share my experience really working with oil paint, what I learned, and my future plans. This will be the second of three posts that I will be doing on this piece. Next week, I will explain the story behind the scene that is being portrayed and the beautiful tale of Krishna.

This piece is titled “Govardhan” and is done completely in oil paint (with an acrylic underpainting) with a size of 2 feet by 4 feet. I had found the image of the art piece over a year back and had it saved on my phone. I would just randomly pull it up to stare at the gorgeous detail and ambiance that Biswaal was able to bring out in his painting and only dreamed that I would one day be able to paint in the same way.

The original artwork is done entirely in acrylic paint but I decided to do it in oils instead so that I could have more control and be able to work longer with the paint before it dries. The prospect of creating this art piece intimated me so much that it was almost crippling. However, I rode the momentum and the high of my last piece “The Festival of Colors” to just bite the bullet and jump right in.

Form this piece I have truly come to learn that I am so much stronger and more capable than I give myself credit for. I also realized that I truly love oil paint! This is odd seeing as I stayed away from the medium for so long. It is so amazing that I was able to fall in love with another medium. It opens up so many more possibilities for me to create future pieces and allows me another tool in my arsenal. Oil painting has taught me that no mistake is permanent. If something does not look that way that I want it to, I have all of the power to change the outcome and create what I truly want.

Patience is also something that I am sure every artist who has worked with oil paint understands they need to uphold. Oil paint is a slow drying medium so allowing time for the paint to dry is essential in order to bring out high chroma colors and bright highlights.

I have fallen in love with oil paint and have already started my next series so stay tuned for that!!

I really enjoyed writing this week’s blog post, I apologize for the little delay, trying to get back into the swing of things. As always, if anything that I discussed in this post stands out, or if any questions arise please feel free to comment and share your thoughts!


Looking forward to next Monday!


~ Riya


Personal website:

Riya Aggarwal

My name is Riya and I am currently a Sophomore at Umich. Art has been a huge passion of mine from a very young age and in this column, I look forward to sharing my perspectives and outlooks on life (and specifically my culture) through my personal work!

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!